How to level-up engagement with first-party mobile data

Kostas Kastanis, Deputy CEO at Upstream, explains how brands can work with forward-thinking mobile network operators to plug the gap left by cookie deprecation with first-party mobile data. 

Getting to know your customers, and working out how to fulfil their needs, is mobile marketing 101. Driven by user identification, the personalized and interactive marketing tailored to a customer’s specific desires is now expected as standard. This is especially true when trying to reach customers online through digital marketing campaigns.

However, user identification is often synonymous with third-party cookies, and it’s little secret that this era is shortly coming to an end. With Google introducing new privacy measures in the second half of 2024, 88 per cent of the browser market will be unreachable by third-party cookies. But, for advertisers, brands, and retailers, this doesn’t mean targeting and personalization needs to come to an end as well. Instead, we must consider new, more innovative, ways of developing experiences that truly resonate with users. This is where first-party mobile data steps in.

Why is first-party data a great choice for marketers?
First, let’s look at why first-party data is the golden chalice for marketers. Privacy and trust come top of the list. With 91 per cent of consumers concerned about the amount of data companies have on them (source: The Cookieless World: A Guide for the New Era of Digital Marketing, Dentsu, July 2021), first-party data can be less intrusive from the customer perspective, collecting only vital information given with the user’s consent. For marketers, first-party data can also score higher accuracy in reaching the right audience at a reduced cost since it is gathered directly, rather than through a purchase from another company.

Furthermore, first-party data allows for a more seamless UX, with the ability to achieve more conversions through greater personalization. In fact, 90 per cent of customers find messages from companies annoying if they are not personally relevant (source: Attitude to personalization among internet users in the United States as of January 2019, Statista Research Department, February 2021).

And, with increasing revenue every brand’s ultimate goal, it’s proven that companies which use first-party data in advanced marketing activations can achieve up to 3x higher revenue uplift as a result of the greater levels of personalization it can offer (source: Responsible Marketing With First-Party Data In Asia Pacific – A $200 Billion Value Unlock Opportunity, The Boston Consulting Group, May 2020).

Working with MNOs to overcome the barriers in the way of first-party data collection
But as almost every marketer knows, first-party data is traditionally a lot harder to acquire than third-party data. In fact, over 62 per cent of brands say an inability to integrate the necessary technologies to collect and make use of first-party data is the primary barrier standing in their way of putting it to use (source:
Privacy + personalization: How APAC brands can responsibly unlock the full value of first-party data, Think With Google, May 2020). The solution lies in leveraging a unique asset that mobile network operators have at their disposal. This is the mobile phone number, the MSISDN, which can serve as a global unique marker of each user’s identity, if the right technology is used.

By working with forward-thinking mobile network operators (MNOs) with access to innovative technologies such as Upstream’s Mobile Identity, brands can recognize a user’s mobile phone number on the open web automatically, with the only requirement being the user’s consent. Our own data reports that up to 85 per cent of a website’s guest web visitors can be identified this way. Marketers can use this identification method in a great variety of ways, which will ultimately lead them to increase customer satisfaction, engagement, conversions and of course revenues.

One of the basic principles of user-centered design is that the less effort and thinking a system requires from users, the more effective it is. That is exactly what the automation capabilities of Upstream’s Mobile Identity allow for.

Up until now, when a brand needed personal details of customers, such as their mobile phone number or email to build up their CRM databases, they would need to ask them to fill out the information manually. With user identification over the mobile network, this process turns into a simple confirmation on the part of the end user. The result is an up to 10x rise in opt in conversions, again, based on our own data.

How identification technology can boost campaign effectiveness
The identification technology can easily simplify user journeys, making for fast, seamless campaigns. This is made possible by removing the need for lengthy log in and authentication processes. By providing their consent once, users avoid the unnecessary hassle of logging in to a website every time. As a result, companies can instantly customize content with information, offers and incentives that are relevant to the individual, leading to better engagement and more conversions.

For example, a user searches for a new mobile phone on a mobile operator’s website. The operator can instantly recognize that this is a high value customer and offer them micro-credit for a premium smartphone purchase in installments.

Conversion rates can also be boosted by the improvement of security processes. For example, many applications ask users to insert their details and confirm their identity through a One-Time Password (OTP) before they can use the app. The same is often asked when a customer wants to complete a purchase. However, it has been proven that 20-30 per cent of users drop off the verification process when they are asked for an OTP. With identification over the mobile network, however, user verification can take place silently in the background, minimizing the effort required by the user, and increasing conversions.

More effective retargeting is also made possible. Using the MSISDN as a mobile advertising ID, marketers can reengage mobile users who have fallen out of the funnel via another channel more suitable to them, and based on what stage of the funnel they are at, avoiding messaging fatigue. For instance, a customer visits an eShop, and adds a TV to their online shopping cart, but does not checkout. They receive an automated SMS with a clickable link back to their shopping cart so they can return and complete the purchase. In fact, based on our own data, cart abandonment retargeting can recover more than 10 per cent of revenues that would otherwise be lost.

With 2024, and the elimination of cookies, on the horizon, digital advertisers are looking for alternatives to third-party data, and the answer lies in their users’ smartphones. Using Upstream’s Mobile Identity can take consumers from the open web and provide the much-needed intelligence to communicate with them through mobile messaging, providing the foundation for highly engaging marketing campaigns. By working with the right MNO, user identification has the potential to revolutionize mobile marketing campaigns. Now is the time to check out what it can do for your brand.

Read Upstream’s latest white paper to learn more about its Mobile Identity patented technology here